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Nickelback still loves Detroit, despite Thanksgiving controversy

for Journal Register Newspapers

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DETROIT -- Despite the viral petition drive and some audible boos during Thursday's (Nov. 24) appearance at Ford Field, Nickelback still loves Detroit.

"Of course. It's still my favorite place," bassist Mike Kroeger said just prior to the Canadian quartet's performance during the United Way halftime show. "It comes off as a little suspect when I say that the Lions are my favorite team; everybody's like, 'Oh, yeah, right...' But you can fact-check it; I've been a fan of the Tigers, Lions, (Red) Wings."

Accompanied by a dance corps, a youth drum line and plenty of pyrotechnics, Nickelback performed "When We Stand Together" -- one of the singles from its brand-new album, "Here on Now" -- on Thursday, following the debut of an NFL Play 60 campaign commercial featuring the Lions and a slew of images from around metro Detroit. The group, which sold out three Detroit-area shows during its last tour in 2009, was greeted with both cheers and boos, but frontman Chad Kroeger gave a loud "Detroit!" salute at the end of the song.

After Nickelback's booking for the Thanksgiving Day game was revealed, the group was the subject of an online petition that sought to remove it and replace the band with a Detroit act. Nickelback's members steadfastly declined to comment about the controversy -- Mike Kroeger would only say he was "not really" surprised by the protest -- but they did film a humorous video for the web site FunnyorDie.com in which they sought ways to curry the city's favor, even dressing as Motor City icons such as Alice Cooper, Robocop, Tom Selleck and Dave Coulier.

"It was the most fun we've ever had," Kroeger said. "It was such a blast getting in front of the camera with those guys. They were fantastic to us and really, truly hilarious people. The stuff that happened on camera was pretty good, but off camera, I'm telling you...there was so much laughter going on we had sore gut muscles."

Nickelback next plays at halftime of the 99th Grey Cup Canadian Football League championship game on Sunday (Nov. 27) in Vancouver. The group will tape an appearance on the "WWE Tribute to the Troops," airing Dec. 13 on USA and Dec. 17 on NBC, while a world tour kicks off in March with a North American leg that will include Detroit

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